Vale said he would even consider “blessing” a same-sex relationship, although he cannot legally marry the couple.
“We are open to blessing any covenant made between two adults who love each other, because we believe that God and the scripture command us to do so, even in the face of congregations who believe that God and the scripture command them not to do so,” he said. “We also believe that dividing space between our congregations is the place where freedom in Jesus and harmony of believers meet.”
A church blessing is very similar to a traditional marriage ceremony, but no paperwork is filed with the state to legalize the union. Vale said the idea of preforming a church blessing is only theoretical at this point because the opportunity has not presented itself. He also said a church blessing would only be considered — like a marriage — after careful consideration between the parties involved.
Pastor Mike Schwartz disagrees with Vale. He said a marriage should only be between one man and one woman. Schwartz is the associate pastor of pastoral care for Madison Park Church of God, 6607 Providence Drive, Anderson.
“Marriage has always been a religious institution,” he said. “There is nowhere in scripture that I see God, in any way or any form, approving of a same-gender marriage.”
Schwartz said there are same-sex couples that attend his church, but that does not make the relationship right in God’s eyes.
“First off, God loves everyone,” he said. “And let’s face it; personally, I do not have any different view of it than I would of a couple in a same-sex relationship. I believe it is exactly the same thing as a relationship outside of a marriage. I do not think God approves of a relationship outside of marriage, and it is limited to one man and one woman.”